November 14, 2012

Time Re-Orientation

We have learned irreverence toward the sun and the seasons, for in a world made up of seconds and minutes, the authority of nature is superseded. The clock introduced a new form of conversation between man and God, in which God appears to have been the loser. ~Neil Postman
Sabbath-keeping is more than time management. It is fresh orientation to time, where we think with holy imagination about how the arc of our moments and hours and days intersects with eternity. ~Mark Buchanan in The Rest of God
Spend, save, manage, squander, waste, organize... these are all words we use in our metaphors and analogies when talking about time. We've borrowed them all from the business world. As mentioned before, you and I live in this culture of productivity (FYI, productivity and fruitfulness are not the same thing) and obsession of wanting to control time. This bleeds into our churches and ministries as well. In pointing this out, I just want to call attention to the fact that we can even idolize ministry and our work for God, rather than stopping for a rest. There were times when Jesus was being swarmed by people trying to get to Him, and He turned to His disciples and said, "Come on, let's go. We've got to go." They'd hop on a boat and take off for a break. Or there's Moses (Exodus 18). He'd sit and listen to peoples complaints and questions day after day after day in order to make judgements, and you know what? He got tired. He had to take a break. I've talked to men who've gone to Seminary, and they've complained that practicing Sabbath was one of the hardest things for them to do. We all struggle with this.

The problem lies in the fact that in defining time, we've completely missed how God intended it to be. Time was never meant to be spent, managed, saved, or wasted. It's not the language used in scripture when talking about the Sabbath. Sabbath is meant to be inhabited. Because when we rush through time, we throw it away. We're deadened to living in the "here and now," which is what God desires for us. All busyness goes against the grain of a life on earth well spent. There's no glory to be found within it. We're to enter into the moments, the minutes fully alive and attentive:
The truly purposeful have an ironic secret: they manage time less and pay attention more... Jesus, for example. He lived with the clearest and highest purpose. Yet he veered and strayed from one interruption to the next, with no apparent plan in hand other than his single overarching one: get to Jerusalem and die. Otherwise, his days... were a series of zigzags and detours... interruptions and delays, off-the-cuff plans... leisurely meals, serendipitous rounds of storytelling... Jesus was available--or not--according to some oblique logic all his own. He had an inner ear for the Father's whispers, a third eye for the Spirit's motions. ~Mark Buchanan in The Rest of God (emphasis mine)
I have some questions for you (and I ask myself them as well): Are we rushing? Do you and I see life as short? Are we available to be interrupted without freaking out over the to-do list stuck on the fridge or written in the planner? Do we welcome the interruptions? Is time something we're short on?

Time is not our enemy. Time is a gift. Life is not short, nor is it long. God numbers each of our days. The number of days He's set for your life and my life here on earth are a perfect number. We don't need any more or any less. He has a plan to accomplish what He wants within that time (and it's probably not what you and I plan). You and I are not short on time. As God's children, we have eternity, all the time in the world. So stop rushing through your life! Life isn't a rat race. It's an invitation to tune into Christ's whisper, to follow Him, to enjoy Him, to delight in the blessings He gives, the small ones and the big ones. He's blessed you with moments to enter into His presence for your entire lifetime, so don't miss them because you're too busy with your production. Don't miss the sweetness of life. 
Most of us live afraid that we're almost out of time. But you and I, we're heirs of eternity. We're not short of days... Generous people have more time. That's the irony: those who sanctify time and who give time away--who treat time as a gift and not a possession--have time time in abundance. ~Mark Buchanan in The Rest of God

Rest time is not waste time. ~Darrin Patrick 


  1. Goodness me. I absolutely loved this. About enjoying each and every moment life has to offer and to live in each one...amazing. Thank you for sharing!

  2. This blessed me so much today! I especially loved this part..."We're deadened to living in the "here and now," which is what God desires for us. All busyness goes against the grain of a life on earth well spent. There's no glory to be found within it. We're to enter into the moments, the minutes fully alive and attentive"
    Ugh - such freedom to find joy in every moment!
    Thank you for sharing :)

  3. "Sabbath is meant to be inhabited." I am taking that and writing that down. Reading those words felt like a revelation. Thanks again Natalie!

  4. have you ever thought of getting into the ministry? being a pastor?

    I LOVED this Nat, you are so gifted, wise, transparent, earnest, eager, and faithful. I adore your heart for God and your wisdom!

    Love love the sentence about paying attention, man so good.


  5. I'm finally catching up with your series and I must say; TIMELY! OS grrateful for your obedience & wisdom Natalie


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